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Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa

The Poor Farm.

Greene county has never forgotten the gospel statement “the poor ye have always with you” and hence has essayed to take good care of those within her borders who are in the ranks of the needy. In some cases and, in fact, in all cases where public and private interests are thus best conserved, money is taken from the treasury and given in monthly allowances to subjects of charity in their own homes and homes of their friends, but under conditions existing at present it is the policy of the authorities to have all the dependent poor cared for at the county farm. This is located in Bristol township, consisting of 240 acres of excellent land, which was set apart by purchase more than a quarter of a century ago as a place for the gathering and caring for those who by reason of age, sickness or other misfortune, were unable to care for themselves. Prior to two years since, these were housed in an old frame building, which, neither in size, architctural design or general conveniences, was suited to the purposes for which it was used, and yet for many years it served as the home of from a score to thirty people who did not live in a realm of either comfort or content, and, considering the value of its landed possessions and the poor returns received from the farm itself, the county paid dearly for the moderate benefactions measured out to its needy poor. Various schemes for the betterment of conditions were devised and the sorry aspect of things fully discussed, but the taxpayers turned a deaf ear to them, until at the election in 1904 it was voted to expend $10,000 in the erection of a brick building large enough for the needs of the county for many years to come, equipped with all modern conveniences, a home, in fact, where the poor folks who were obliged to live in the place assigned them, could spend the long, weary days amid pleasant environments and in the enjoyment of the best of care. This building was completed and occupied during the summer of 1906, and stands as an honor to the generous thought of Greene county for its poor. Very few counties in the state are as well equipped in this respect as is this, and it is a hopeful prospect that when operated at its best, in connection with the farm, it will be so nearly self-supporting that the drain on the county treasury will be very small. The superintendent under the new regime is Rudolph Monthei, a practical farmer, who gives promise of “doing” things. It is a matter of county pride that so few of its population need be maintained at public expense and also that the provision for their care is generous and complete. The “Farm” is located about six miles northwest of Jefferson, and will repay a visit to any one who has the leisure and in clination to see twentieth century appointments as applied to those who, in life’s wrestle, seem to be undermost in the fight.

From Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa, by E. B. Stillman,
Chicago, Illinois: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907

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